I’ve enjoyed posting poetry series themed around the Christian year in the past couple of years (see “Poetry for Lent” and “Poetry for Easter“). I will continue that with a series called “Poetry for Ordinary Time.” Ordinary time includes two sections of the church year between Christmastide and Lent and Easter and Advent. The word “ordinary” here derives from the word ordinal by which the weeks are counted. Still, ordinary time does serve an opportunity to embrace the ordinary spaces and places of our lives, and the themes of the poems will express this.
Here is Tu Fu’s poem “Clear After Rain” translated by Kenneth Rexroth from Collected Shorter Poems. Tu Fu is an 8th century Chinese poet, widely considered to be the greatest poet of the Tang Dynasty.
Autumn, cloud blades on the horizon.
The west wind blows from ten thousand miles.
Dawn, in the clear morning air,
Farmers busy after long rain.
The desert trees shed their few green leaves.
The mountain pears are tiny but ripe.
A Tartar flute plays by the city gate.
A single wild goose climbs into the void.
Previous poems in this series:
- C. S. Lewis, “Evensong”
- Tomas Tranströmer, “Open and Closed Spaces”
- James Weldon Johnson, “The Creation”
- Denise Levertov, “Living”
- Wang Wei, “Morning, Sailing into Xinyang”
- Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty”
- Mary Oliver, “The Kingfisher”
- Osip Mandelstam, “Consider the River”
- Kwame Dawes, “Peach Picking”
- Anna Kamieńska, “A Prayer That Will Be Answered”
- Judah al-Harizi, “The Sun”
- Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”